Luifer Larrazabal and Atlodetto FZ won the $25,000 Under 25 Grand Prix at the Kentucky Spring Horse Show as one of only four to jump double-clear.
The $25,000 Under 25 Grand Prix saw a start list of 33 horse and rider combinations gather at the Rolex Stadium for the pilot event on the final day of the Kentucky Spring Horse Show. It was Luifer Larrazabal of Venezuela who dashed for the cash Sunday afternoon, winning the majority of the purse with recent mount, Atlodetto FZ.
The 22-year-old consistently showed throughout the Wellington and Ocala circuits, even riding for his country’s team during the Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup™ CSIO4* in at HITS Ocala. The young talent has been working to build a partnership with new mount, Atlodetto FZ, owned by San Francisco Stables LLC of Wellington, FL. The 8-year-old gelding showcased his impressive skills over Richard Jeffery’s track, becoming the final of only six pairs to qualify for the speed round.
“He’s very small actually, he was gelded very late, so he’s kind of like a stallion,” Larrazabal said of his winning mount. “He’s very sensitive, but he’s lazy, he doesn’t put out much effort when he jumps. He is a small horse, and he jumps little as well. When he goes in the ring, he tries to do the job very carefully, and he’s very quick. This is the best thing I’ve done with him since I got him in December, we have been working on building a relationship and improving.”
Wilton Porter was the first to return for the jump-off. Aboard Patriot, owned by Sleepy P Ranch of Bartonville, TX, he navigated the course to finish with the first of four double clears in 35.168 seconds. He continued to lead the way with Sophie Simpson and Why Not falling just behind his time with a clear effort in 35.353 seconds, and Kelli Cruciotti and Chamonix H tripping the timers in 36.523 seconds.
Larrazabal was the last in the ring, and he knew that he had to take some risks on the track in order to catch Porter’s pace. It was a little over one second that would separate the two in the end, and it was only one turn that made the difference.
“Today I didn’t how it was going to be, because this horse is kind of new for me,” Larrazabal explained. “The first round, I didn’t know what to expect in the ring, but he was super. In the jump-off there were only six, and I was last to go. I didn’t know I was going to go clear, but I knew I had to try a risk and try to win. I was lucky today.”
Larrazabal said, “I was a little bit risky to the last jump, it was a very tight turn, but that’s where I made up the time. A little bit risky, but I mean, he was super. He was jumping great; he felt so much better today, and I think he improved a lot, so maybe next week I will try to do the Grand Prix.”
Today marked Larrazabal’s first Under 25 Grand Prix, yet the series is not on his radar for the future. Although he thinks that the series is beneficial for up and coming riders, his aims are set on the Pan American Games in Toronto, Canada, this summer. The Kentucky Spring Horse Shows are Larrazabal’s first stop in preparation for the Pan Ams, with Spruce Meadows next on his tour.
“I love Kentucky, and even more after you come from the Winter Equestrian Festival, after all those intense 12 weeks that you never stop, you know, over there it’s a little busy. Here it’s quieter; I only have four horses here, by myself, so here you can relax. It’s very nice; there are fields where you can flat the horses, and they don’t think that they are at a show. It keeps them fresh, and they feel like they’re at home resting.”
RESULTS: $25,000 U-25 GRAND PRIX
1 135 ATLODETTO FZ LUIFER LARRAZABAL 83.273 34.065
2 159 PATRIOT WILTON PORTER 83.899 35.168
3 1277WHY NOT SOPHIE SIMPSON 84.839 35.353
4 206 CHAMONIX H KELLI CRUCIOTTI 85.432 36.523
5 440 GOLDFINGER VD HESARAH BAGWORTH 79.878 4 40.720
6 630 ZEPHIRE HAYLEY BARNHILL 83.617 12 51.843
7 573 BOY IV EMANUEL ANDRADE 4 80.283
8 638 BAMIRO KADY ABRAHAMSON 4 81.077
9 984 ZULIEKA SHAWN CASADY 4 81.497
10 126 HARRIRI ABIGAIL MCARDLE 4 81.934
11 1337ETOILE VAN’T LAMALLIY MOYER 4 82.110
12 824 HITCHCOCK VD BROALISE OKEN 4 82.362
Source: Kendall Bierer